Reviewed by Shari
On the cover of Patti Smith’s A Book of Days, is a picture of Patti in a black brimmed hat, holding her Polaroid camera in her left hand, her right hand poised at her lips in a gesture of contemplative curiosity. On the back cover, Cairo, her loyal cat, sits atop a copy of Federico Garcia Lorca, the picture dated June 5, 2018.
Patti Smith’s latest work was, interestingly, born out of her Instagram account, where in 2018 she started posting a picture a day. It holds a picture and a caption for every day of the year, revealing Smith’s solid practice of finding beauty within the mundane and imbuing both the objects and the people in her world with a special kind of magic, relegating all aspects of her life worthy of inspiration – revelation. “Entries and images,” Patti says, “are keys to unlocking one’s own thoughts. Each is surrounded with the reverberation of other possibilities. Birthdays acknowledged are prompts for others, including your own. A Paris café is all cafes, just as a gravesite may echo others mourned and remembered.”
Naturally, I was curious about what Patti posted on my own birthday, July 20th: A picture of Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner with this caption – “Within the course of Blade Runner, Rutger Hauer infused his own humanity into Roy Batty’s android heart. Remembering the actor, imbued with Batty’s powers, sailing off the shoulder of Orion, seeing things we humans would not believe.”
Rainer Maria Rilke says that “if your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.”
Patti, to my mind, and especially with this book out in the world, is poet enough.